day 3339: odin and pushkin, the day after i almost put pushkin down.

day 3339: odin and pushkin, the day after i almost put pushkin down.

08.28.13 update: we got results back from his blood panel and it’s not good news. his blood platelet count is disastrously low and his white blood count is very high. our vets opinion is that he has fairly advanced cancer and we should put him down sooner rather than later. one of the possible cancers could lead to his slowly bleeding to death which is certainly not something we want to have happen. sad news. i guess we’ll have to put him down within days.


odin and pushkin have been best buddies since we brough pushkin home from the animal shelter and into our lives 7 years ago. there have been many “a boy and his dog” stories and moments over the years, some of which have been told, most of which haven’t. when odin wakes up in the morning pushkin is at the foot of his bed and when odin goes to bed pushkin is at the foot of his bed. they are inseperable companions.

pushkin came from the shelter with severe lyme disease and has had bouts of anaplasmosis over the years. every year or two he gets lethargic and doesn’t want to eat so we take him to the vet to get the lyme test and, sure enough, his bacterial loads are high so he gets a round of antibiotics and is all better until next time. in fact, the Dog Food Burrito Incident occurred the last time he had a flare-up. it’s been a familiar ( and annoying ) pattern cycle of lethargy, lack of interest in food, lyme and treatment.

around odin’s birthday, pushkin started puking everything he ate and stopped eating entirely. it felt a little different than the lyme cycle. he dropped 15 pounds. fast. we took him to the vet and his liver enzymes were high which could be from an infection ( or lots of other even less fun causes ) and he tested positive for anaplasmosis so we started him on a treatment of antibiotics with prednisone to help increase his appetite.

the treatment has sort-of worked. he’s been able to eat and keep most of it down. but he’s still lethargic and definitely not the old pushkin. but it’s been hard to know how much of that has been due to side effects from prednisone and recovering from anaplasmosis. this week we finally weaned him off the prednisone and were all really, really hoping to see our dear friend bounding about happy and healthy.

instead, he started puking up everything he ate and then stopped eating entirely.

having had dogs for most of my life, dealing with the decision to put a dog down is familiar and never easy ( over a decade ago i told the story of the day harper went to the vet and didn’t come back ). but when a dog isn’t eating, it’s probably close to time. i believe it’s infinitely more humane to decide to do it quickly because in the end whatever is causing the problem – most likely cancer – is not going to get fixed. if we had thousands of dollars laying around i’d give hundreds of kids access of clean water over giving a dog a few more months to live.

we came close to going to the vet and putting him down but couldn’t do it. not yet. there’s a small chance he’s not cleared of the infection, so we decided to do another blood panel and put him back on prednisone and wait for the results. the good news is that he’s eating and keeping food down.

we’ll enjoy each day with pushkin not knowing how many we have left. hopefully there are many.

3 thoughts on “day 3339: odin and pushkin, the day after i almost put pushkin down.”

  1. We went through a similar thing with our 16-year-old dog, Madeline. It was a difficult decision and every time we though ‘this is it” she would rebound. She ended up dying peacefully at home. My thoughts are with you as you enjoy whatever time you have left with Pushkin.

  2. I put my cat down after 22 years. He was having a lot of problems but still walking and eating. We came to the conclusion his quality of life was just getting worse so took him in. I get the attachment and how difficult it will be. Know you all love him the most and best you could and that is pretty fantastic.

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